WORTHINGTON — While a carp seining event wasn’t feasible on Lake Okabena over the winter, the Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District remains intent on doing what it can to remove as many of the roughfish from the lake as possible.

During a Tuesday meeting of the watershed board, Administrator Dan Livdahl presented plans to place a screen over the outlet control structure in the Minnesota West Regional Stormwater Pond to keep carp in the pond from reaching Lake Okabena.

Gordon Heitkamp, director of college facilities at Minnesota West, received permission for the watershed district to install a carp exclusion screen on the outlet — if the watershed district or the city of Worthington was willing to pay for it, Livdahl said.

“I’m all in favor,” said board member Jay Milbrandt on seeking bids to complete the project. “It shows that we’re doing something with the (carp) study and the money the city has given us to control carp.”

Livdahl said the district received funds from both the city of Worthington and the E.O. Olson Trust in 2019 that have yet to be spent. Depending on what the cost will be, he said the district may have enough to cover the project.

In other action, the board:

  • Granted a stormwater pollution prevention permit to Dan Wagner for construction of the Wagner Addition — a project to extend Sterling Avenue in the Glenwood Heights Addition south of Sutherland Drive to form a cul de sac and create eight lots for residential housing that would include single-family and twin home options.

  • Approved a $1,500 cost-share payment to Dennis Bosma, Worthington, to grow a small grains crop this year during the reconstruction of a waterway on 10 acres he owns in Section 35, Bigelow Township. The waterway drains into land directly east of Lake Bella Park.

  • Discussed a mowing schedule for the rustic walking and hiking trails established at Lake Bella. Since the second trail was completed prior to Memorial Day, the grass has grown to about knee-high, Livdahl reported. Plans are to keep the trails mowed for people to continue to enjoy them.

Also, signs were installed to mark the trailheads, both within Bella Park and at the 330th Street entrances west of Nobles County 57.

  • Learned vegetation has died on most of the district’s floating islands in the Minnesota West Regional Stormwater Pond, and that one island has flipped upside down. Livdahl suggested waiting until next spring to replant vegetation.

  • Received an update on Livdahl’s plans to conduct tests of algae blooms on Lake Okabena this summer. The test kits and materials were purchased last year but hadn’t been used as there was just one bloom. The tests determine the presence of microcystin toxin, which can stay in the water for weeks or months after algae dies.

Lake Okabena has cyanobacteria blooms, and the tests will be able to determine if those are harmful or not.